Jimmy Wales in a now notorious Slashdot interview from 2004, said: “Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.” Last weekend a small town in Wales offered the world a glimpse of what Wikipedia might look like if and when it was ever finished.
Assisted by global volunteers who have been writing hundreds of articles in not just English and Welsh but also Hungarian, Esperanto and Latin (really). The people of Monmouth painted a loving picture of their whole town on Wikipedia. Last Saturday celebrated this achievement with1,000 QR codes added to signposts, listed buildings, exhibitions and shops around the town. Now, remarkably, a Hungarian can wander around the town using their Smart phone to scan QRpedia codes which automatically detect the phones chosen language and delivers an article from the Hungarian Wikipedia .
The important bit here is that the people of Monmouth are now in control of this information. They can decide what it written about their town, their museums and their leaders. The cost of the project was repaid within hours as the story was picked up in over 250 articles that cover 36 countries. For an outlay of a few thousand pounds on a Project Coordinator, the treasures of the town are being read about in press from Shanghai to Las Vegas, from Washington to Canberra. Now, with every likelihood of visitors from all over the world coming to the town waving their smartphones at the QRPedia codes to learn how it all works – the people are set for a welcome financial bonus in these tough economic times. Indeed, the council are so impressed that they signed a deal with Wikimedia UK to ensure that the work continues.
They’ve taken the first step in Monmouth. Wikipedia can do this, one town at a time. It only took about a dozen people to get it moving. If you think you could do this then Wikimedia UK want to speak to you.